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Pepper Spray Painting

Juxtapoz // Monday, 21 Nov 2011



With an oddly theatrical flourish, UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike presented his canister of pepper spray to the global audience he almost seemed to anticipate before viciously spraying seated student activists in their faces with a highly caustic, marigold-hued gout of pure repression. Little did he know that at that brutal moment, he had just sprayed his way into meme history.


Seurat's "Sunday Afternoon" was the first I saw, Pike's pointless violence juxtaposed with Seurat's pointillist vibrance. A truculent, tromping figure marring a marvelous lakeside lounging sesh, shooting a stream of pure patriarchal poison in the face of a woman seated with her female companion. Perhaps he thought them homosexual lovers and disapproved, sought to reassert some phallic dominance over the scene? Perhaps he resented these beautiful girls, seated demurely in the grass, at the edge of a beech tree's inviting dappled shadows, whilst his small, diabetes-wracked manhood cowered beneath his voluminous gut, a neglected worm of wasted wanting, desires displaced by alcohol, fatty foods, and an orgy of brutality, rage at a glorious youth which had passed him by. Weep for pike, the blunt spade, the puffy fish out of water, the potbellied piglet who eschews salsa on his tacos but sprays it on the faces of the young and the bright-eyed with such generosity it lands his tasty targets in the infirmary hacking up blood.


For more media-ready memes, click here. It's so amusing, this bungling brute. This fat, dispirited emblem of modern American authoritarianism, ordered to roust some kids, to end an occupation, to reassert our slavery to property and its masters, has been liberated through Art. He can travel to Philadelphia, 1776. Off to luncheon with Manet; to Tibet, to meet the flaming monks; to a girder high above a cityscape; to the rounded rubble of Guernica; to rendezvous with God Himself on High, and spray that Pepper right into His Eye.


But don't forget what he did. Why he did it. John Pike is liberated now from his confining armor, but we live in a John Pike factory. We must be brutal, macho, obedient, relentless–all the attributes of a good footsoldier of repression. Callous sprayer of the politely reclined. Watch THIS, remember THIS, fight THIS:




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